Violence Against Sikhsby Representative Jim Costa
Posted on 2016-01-07
COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support and stand with the
Sikh community in the San Joaquin Valley.
In the past 2 weeks, two Sikh men have been brutally attacked and, very sadly, one of them was killed. He lost his life. The Fresno City Police Department has labeled these two crimes as potential hate crimes.
Amrik Singh Bal was attacked in the middle of the street while waiting for a ride so he could go to work, as any average American would do throughout our country. Gurcharan Singh Gill was killed while working at a local convenience store. Both tragic incidents took place in my district. My thoughts and prayers are with Amrik and his family, and my deepest sympathy and condolences go to the Gurcharan family for the loss.
The attacks on these innocent American citizens are really an attack on all American citizens who choose to practice their religion and observe their cultural heritage, as Americans do throughout our land.
Sadly, since September 11, 2001, the Sikh community has endured discrimination because of a lack of understanding of Sikhism, which is based on equality and love. They are not alone.
As a nation of immigrants, we must remember, we have an opportunity to learn and benefit from the thousands of different cultures that are part of the mosaic of what makes America great. After all, we are a nation of immigrants, both past and present, and we must never ever forget that.
Today, in Fresno, in spirit, we are all part of the Sikh community as we mourn these tragic incidents. Every American citizen, regardless of race, creed, or gender has the right to live free of fear and discrimination.
I commend Chief Dyer and the Fresno City Police Department for working diligently to find the individual or individuals who killed Gurcharan and for continuing to look for the other individuals who are responsible for the attack on Amrik.
I continue to urge the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General's office to work, as they have been, in making this investigation inquiry resolve itself, solving these very sad crimes that we [[Page H111]] think were based on hate and is truly an unfair and discriminatory situation that occurred in the last 2 weeks.